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  • BOSTON BAKED BLUNDER: Last week, the Boston Ballet made serious waves when it dismissed a number of dancers from its ranks, apparently at the behest of newly appointed artistic director Maina Gielgud. Yesterday, Gielgud herself was severed, months before she was even scheduled to officially begin work. The move leaves the company more or less in a state of complete chaos. Boston Herald 02/27/01
  • DANCE WAS NO. 1: Dance may not be today's dominant art form, but, says an Israeli archaeologist, it was 9,000 to 5,000 years ago. He "thinks he has pieced together a significant body of evidence for dancing, if not at its beginning, at least at a decisive and poorly understood transitional stage of human culture." The New York Times 02/27/01 (one-time registration required for access)
  • Sunday February 25

    • DANCING AROUND THE LAW: Dance, as a specific art form, tends to be rather difficult to catalogue. How can anyone set down on paper the mere motions of a body, let alone the passion and theory behind the dance? This conundrum has always caused legal problems for dance companies wanting to put on productions of famously choreographed works, and dancers say U.S. intellectual property law is getting in the way of their art. Boston Globe 02/25/01

    Friday February 23

    • WHAT'S IT TAKE TO MAKE A BALLET COMPANY?: Professional ballet companies thrive in places like Atlanta, Houston, Salt Lake City, and Seattle. So why can't places like Detroit and San Deigo support them? It's a delicate balance of talent, funding, audience, and luck. "Starting a ballet company is a crazy thing to do. But these were people who couldn't help starting a ballet company, people who decided to give their lives to dance. So they wouldn't give up." Detroit News 02/23/01

    Thursday February 22

    • BOSTON DENIES BIAS: The new artistic director of the Boston Ballet acknowledges that something of a bloodbath is going on within the company, as more and more dancers are dismissed. But the management strongly denies published reports that the firings are targeting the troupe's Russian dancers. Boston Herald 02/22/01
    • REMEMBERING HAMPTON: Dancer/choreographer Eric Hampton was never one to make headlines with controversial techniques or to follow what the dance world considered to be the latest trends. The quirky, independent Hampton, who died Tuesday at age 54 after a long battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), will be remembered as a brilliant teacher, and a tireless advocate of the joy of the dance. Washington Post 02/22/01
    • ALBERTA SETTLEMENT NEAR: The dancer who sued the Alberta Ballet last year over her dismissal from the company will likely announce a settlement with her old employer sometime today. Her lawsuit had contended that she was dismissed for having left the company for maternity leave, and gaining weight during the pregnancy that she never completely shed. The company denies that her pregnancy had anything to do with the nonrenewal. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 02/22/01
    • THE BOLSHOI BRAND: The Bolshoi is no longer such a revered name. But a girl's gotta eat - so the company is franchising out its school, opening a branch of its school in Australia (even though the announcement seems to have surprised the school's Australian hosts). ThWednesday February 21
    • BETTER THAN THE BOLSHOI? Amid the turmoil of Russia re-inventing itself, and the bitter cold of St. Petersburg, ballet is thriving. "The Kirov (known in Russia now as the Mariinsky) is now widely recognized as Russia's best ballet company, surpassing the more famous Bolshoi Ballet of Moscow. Its foreign tours have been commercial and critical triumphs. Its performances have dazzled the demanding audiences of London and New York." The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 02/21/01
    • THE FUTURE OF DANCE: An international gala in New York celebrates the biggest international stars of today. "The 13 dancers from the United States and Europe delivered the promised international mix, and Spain, once a country with no classical ballet tradition, looks more and more like a fount of major talent. Somebody must be putting something in the paella." The New York Times 02/21/01 (one-time registration required for access)
    • A NEW BROOM SWEEPS IN BOSTON: Fifteen dancers apparently are on their way out at the Boston Ballet. Their departure coincides with the arrival of a new artistic director, who's reported to have told the whole troupe "that they would be auditioning for the rest of their lives." The Boston Globe 02/21/01

    Sunday February 18

    • DANCE AS A BUSINESS: While most dance companies struggle with paying the rent, the 11-member David Parsons Company "operates firmly in the black with a remarkable 90 percent earned income, and has been touring roughly 40 weeks a year. Four months ago, the company moved into a brand new building on 42d Street in Manhattan, affording it a 1,500-square-foot office and luxurious rehearsal space." Boston Globe 02/18/01
    • MUSIC YOU CAN MOVE TO: The importance of choosing the right music in dance can't be understated. And yet music is often the downfall of today's choreographers. "The important choreographers must also be musicologists, interpreters and critics, all rolled into one package. The more substantial the music, the more awesome the challenge for the dancemaker. The finest ballets will tell you something about a familiar score or possibly introduce a wider public to an important piece." San Francisco Chronicle 02/18/01
    • NEDERLAND W/O KYLIAN: Choreographer Jiri Kylian has spent 25 years with the Nederlands Dans Theatre. Indeed it's difficult to imagine the acclaimed company without him. But now Kylian has stepped aside as artistic director. "The sense of freedom cannot be underestimated, and now I can talk to people from the position of not being their boss." San Francisco Chronicle 02/18/01

    Wednesday February 14

    • $50 MILLION FOR DANCE AND OPERA: Arts patron Alberto Vilar has given $50 million to the Kennedy Center to finance ten annual visits by the Kirov Ballet and Opera company. In the past year Vilar has given more than $100 million to performing arts groups. The New York Times 02/14/01 (one-time registration required for access)
    • TWYLA TIME: Twyla Tharp is tired of the itinerant artist life. So she's bought into Brooklyn with a new company of her own. "Having achieved counterpoint she can respect, and whatever other skills and insights her various projects engendered, she's ready to commit herself to building a troupe again. Work for hire inevitably involves compromises, and compromising is not how she wants to spend the rest of her life—although some adjustments she's more than willing to make." Village Voice 02/14/01

    Sunday February 11

    • NEW MUSIC TO MATCH NEW DANCE: "Ballet has long had the power, and money, to commission new music, but poverty-stricken modern dance is in a different position. The lack of tie-ups between modern choreographers and composers is due partly to a lack of confidence, but more likely to sheer logistics. CDs of electronic music make few musical demands and are easily carried in a pocket. Now an ambitious new dance-and-music work takes British modern dance grandly in a significant new direction. An orchestra, a composer and a choreographer have united forces." The Telegraph (London) 02/11/01
    • A CHOREOGRAPHER GROWS IN BROOKLYN: "Harvey Lichtenstein, chairman of the Brooklyn Academy's Local Development Corporation, is overseeing a 10-year, $560 million plan to create a cultural district in Brooklyn near the academy, and Twyla Tharp is the first major artist to move into the community. One recent evening Mr. Lichtenstein, who was the head of BAM for 32 years, and Ms. Tharp, one of the most talked about choreographers working today, met at her Upper West Side apartment to discuss her coming season at the Joyce Theater in Manhattan and her hopes for the new space in Brooklyn." The New York Times 02/11/01 (one-time registration required for access)
    • REMEMBERING THE CHOREOGRAPHERS: "As our culture tumbles into the 21st century, concert dance is succumbing to the big business model: grow bigger or perish. But what happens to talented dance makers whose chamber-scale work will never fill the stages or auditoriums of City Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music or even the Joyce Theater?" The New York Times 02/11/01 (one-time registration required for access)
    • DALLAS FORT WORTH BALLET DIRECTOR DISMISSED: Ben Houck is leaving as director of the Dallas Fort Worth Ballet. Houck was hired 3 1/2 years ago to reinvigorate the company with new works and classics. "The board wanted variety, but apparently not this much variety." Dallas Morning News 02/11/01

    Wednesday February 7

    • TWYLA THARP ON BEETHOVEN: If you think an orchestra is kept busy with Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, you should see what a ballet troupe has to go through. Particularly when the choreographer is Twyla Tharp. "[J]ust as Beethoven's symphony is inexhaustibly energetic, so is the ballet. Neither Beethoven nor Ms. Tharp runs out of steam." The New York Times 02/07/01 (one-time registration required for access)

    Monday February 5

    • DEFINING THE DANCER: The fallout continues from the white-hot dispute between the San Francisco Ballet School and the mother of an 8-year-old applicant who was rejected on sight last year. The school has stood its ground, insisting that many body types are simply unfit for the ballet, but other prominent dance instructors around the country are disgusted with San Francisco's perceived arrogance. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 02/04/01
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